Barbara McCahan, Ph.D.

Bringing  enthusiasm, academic expertise and practical experience to her role as Director of Plymouth State University’s Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities, Barbara McCahan is a Professor of Health and Physical Education in the Health and Human Performance Department, bringing an educational background in biological sciences together with 25 years of experience in physical activity leadership and promotion to her teaching and research activities.

In line with the Center’s mission – to enhance active living, health and wellness of rural residents in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and North Country – McCahan’s research activities focus on understanding the social and cultural influences on health and physical activity behaviors. She also serves as a consultant to regional groups working on issues related to access to physical activity resources, transportation and health concerns.

After graduating from the University of California San Diego, McCahan earned master’s and doctoral degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara, specializing in cell biology, ultrastructure and plant anatomy. She served as a post-doctoral research associate in immunopathology at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver and as a teaching/research associate in reproductive biology at the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.

McCahan discovered the professional fitness industry during her time in Hawaii and has since developed a career in physical-activity promotion. Most recently she was awarded the 2011 Anne Seeley Scholarship to attend the Physical Activity in Public Health – Community Outreach training program, cosponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of North Carolina School of Public Health.

A Plymouth State faculty member since 1989, McCahan instructs various theory and professional-skills courses that address the professional preparation of future physical-activity practitioners, physical-education and health education teachers and athletic trainers in the Health and Human Performance Department. An avid group exercise leader, swimmer, hiker, cyclist and skier, she resides in Plymouth, NH with her active spouse, Ted McCahan.

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